The beloved scientist, teacher, intellectual, motivational speaker, author and former President of India, Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam is no more, but he’ll stay in the hearts of countrymen forever. He was the real son of India who devoted his entire life for the country and collapsed during his last lecture at the Indian Institute of Management, Shillong. Dr. Kalam succumbed to the cardiac arrest doing what he really liked, teaching!
Let’s peek into the entire journey of Kalam’s life
A P J Abdul Kalam was born on 15th October 1931 to very humble parents in Rameshwaram. His father, Jainulabdeen, a Tamilian Muslim was a boat owner. Coming from a very poor background, Kalam had to work early in his life. He started distributing newspapers just after completing his school to support the family.
He graduated in physics in 1954 from St. Joseph’s College, Tiruchirapalli which was affiliated to the University of Madras. Later he moved to Madras, now Chennai in 1955 to study Aerospace Engineering.
Career as a Scientist
Kalam joined as a scientist to Defence Research and Development organization (DRDO) , after passing out from the Madras Institute of Technology in 1960. Kalam was also a part of the Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) under the leadership of eminent space scientist Dr. Vikram Sarabhai. In 1969, he was transferred to ISRO with the responsibility of the Project director of India’s first Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III). The launch vehicle successfully deployed Rohini, a satellite into the earth’s orbit in July 1980.
A P J Abdul Kalam was appointed as the Chief Executive of the newly launched Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) in 1982-1983.Kalam played a key role in developing many missiles, including the Agni, an intermediate range ballistic missile and Prithvi, short-range surface-to-surface missiles. Kalam played a major role in the Pokharan-II Nuclear Bomb tests when he was the scientific advisor and the DRDO Secretary from 1992 to1999. Dr. Kalam served as the Project Coordinator for Pokharan-II Nuclear Bomb test explosions.
The People’s President
Dr. Kalam served as the 11th President of India from 25th July 2002 – 25th July 2007 and was famously called as the People’s President. He was a common man in the truest sense and worked for the masses. He brought many changes in the rules of Rashtrapati Bhavan, the President’s house which were appreciated by many factions.
Kalam was never a Rubber stamp president which we generally see in this position and in many cases he used to return the bills passed by the parliament for re-evaluation, if he found something was unconstitutional.During the tenure of Kalam as a President it seemed that this post was proactive and the office of the President was working for the people of the country.
Life after Presidency
After completing his tenure, Kalam devoted his life into the field of Education. He began teaching at many institutes and was the visiting faculty of IIM Shillong, IIM Indore and an honorary fellow of IISc. Bangalore, professor of Aerospace Engineering at Anna University, Chancellor of Indian Institute of Space & Technology, Thiruvananthapuram and a regular person at many academic and research institutes.Kalam used to enjoy writing poetry & play Veena, a string instrument.
In his entire life, Kalam authored many books and received numerous awards and recognition including Bharat Ratna (2007), country’s highest civilian award.